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Wednesday, November 20: Day 212 – Hello Handsome!

Today we slept late, swam and went on a walking tour with a student named Handsome. (I don’t really think that was his name, but he just liked us calling him Handsome.)

Handsome has one dimple and he is single, looking for a girl with two dimples. Everywhere we went, he would talk to a cute girl and say, ” She is my future wife…she just doesn’t know it yet.”

We were at a Buddhist temple that was surrounded by stupas. A stupa is where many ancestors who have died are put in after cremation. It is expensive to build one and costs about $500. One generation builds for the next generation.

Cremation is often done in the family garden. Cremation in a public place is also expensive.

In the recent past, a person that had no value (that is sad as I believe that every person has value), or had no family, was thrown to the animals or into the water. Here is even a statue depicting this:

On holy days, people come to clean temples and stupas. Here is the decorative screen on the window of the temple..

We ate at a local restaurant that employs young men. Jobs are important for them to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

I am always disappointed when we go to a restaurant and it is all Westerners. I assume that most Cambodians eat at home. I tell Rob that we need to go sit on the little plastic chairs where all the locals are eating. Also, I think it sets up a “me and them world.” That isn’t the type of traveler that we want to be.

This restaurant called Jaan Bai was a small concession because they had “Eat like a Local”, and I was to ask our waiter to bring me what he’d had for lunch. It was delicious.

However, I did forget that they like it hot and spicy, but I ate it all!!! In fact, they think Western food does not have any flavor and is pretty bland.

Cambodia has been hurt by religion. Maybe all countries can say this to varying degrees. Religion is manmade so it is flawed and sinful.

Buddhism teaches people to believe and trust in what you see and touch. Go and meditate at the temple. Don’t pray to me. I am not a God. There is karma which allows one to help oneself. No heaven or hell.

Hinduism teaches followers to be strong and classifies people based on that strength.

Temples were destroyed due to religious wars from the 6th-12th centuries. In the 12th century people started to change what they believed. One such question was “what does God look like”?

Think for yourself, not what people tell you to think or what the king believes. They used to think that the king is right and never wrong. They had different leaders that said that their ideas were better.

When Cambodia was a French colony, it was almost gone from the map. Other countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and France took property. They tried to steal the culture, customs and land of Cambodia.

Christians go to church on Sundays, but Buddha days are based on the lunar calendar and will be on different days of the week.

There are decorative bars on the windows of the White Elephant Temple.

This scene is depicted where a king came out of his home and rode on his royal elephant. He was surprised to see such suffering. There are a few live people hanging out here as well.

The Temple is more like a charity as it educates and houses the poor and orphaned.

Here are a few young boys swimming/bathing in the Sangker River.

Buddhist University is a good, affordable yet strict education. It is open to everyone even girls and only costs $50. People think that it must not be good because it is cheap, but it is a good education.

Cambodia had a corrupt government (and still does today) which allowed the Khmer Rouge to gain momentum.

They told the people in the cities to run to the countryside because Americans are coming to drop bombs. The people thought that it would be just a few days, but they were not allowed to return. They were dehydrated, starved or were killed. This made it easy to eliminate them. It was hard to know who the leader was.

There were group marriages in the squares. Cambodians were to marry Cambodians and drive out Vietnamese and Chinese and their get land back.

We went to dinner at Coconut Lyly that is run by Cambodians. They placed these bottles on our table. Wow! It’s a menu!! What a novel idea!

Rob asked for a large bottle of water and she gave us Cambodian glasses…coconut shells.

Here is my Amok Chicken. It is made with coconut cream and tastes sweet. I like that everything here is either reused or biodegradable.

She said that the Chinese are buying up all the Cambodian lands and building casinos. Many are even forced to sell by intimidation by the Chinese mafia if they refuse. The government allows the Chinese to do whatever they want since they pocket the big money.

How can one excel when the government doesn’t support the people and allows foreign governments to control things? Hmmmmmm.

Please pray for Cambodia and the Cambodian people.

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